Al Dexter

This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll learn about a musical pioneer who drew inspiration from a barroom brawl.

Al Dexter died in Lewisville, Texas, on January 28, 1984. Born in Jacksonville, Texas, in 1902, he gained popularity writing songs describing his experiences in East Texas nightclubs. In 1936, Dexter released “Honky-Tonk Blues,” the first country record to use the term honky-tonk in its title. In that song and others, he described the rough-and-tumble nightlife found in many Texas beer joints. In 1943, Al Dexter wrote what would become his biggest hit after witnessing a jealous woman brandishing a gun while chasing her husband’s mistress through a barroom.

Al Dexter’s “Pistol-Packin’ Mama” achieved early country-crossover success when Bing Crosby recorded it with the Andrews Sisters in 1943.

Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet the original “Gangster of Love.”

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